RANT: 5 Living Clean Tips

It blew my mind in medical school when I learned that drugs could be delivered through the skin and vaccines delivered through a nasal spray.  So cool that you could absorb things through the mucous membranes (as they’re called), breath and skin.  Until I realized that the same is true for pollutants.  The black exhaust billowing out of the dump truck in front of you also gets absorbed through your respiratory tract and skin. So do the carcinogens in your soaps, lotions and home cleaning products.  A lot of the chemicals in these products look like estrogen to our body’s hormone receptors, which is why glandular cancers (thyroid, breast, and prostate) are on the rise.
Unless you move to the Tundra, live off grubs, roots and berries and walk or bicycle only , you’re not going to be able to avoid most of the toxins out there.  However, you can make smarter purchases to limit you cancer risks at home.
1) buy skin products, shampoos, lotions and soaps that are all natural, organic, and free of the following:
sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens, and any ingredients with dyes and harsh chemicals (ex: yellow #5)
2) buy natural cleaning products and detergents, like Seventh Generation or Method (not Tide, Dawn, or Windex, etc)
3) buy local and/or organic fruit and organic milk; buy local grass-fed, hormone free dairy, eggs and meat
4) eat food that cleanses and detoxifies your body from the pollutants we’re exposed to—like leafy green vegetables and other foods high in antioxidants (green tea, red wine, berries, beans, green veggies, dark chocolate, etc)
5) drink filtered water in glass bottles; 1/2 of your body weight in ounces to FLUSH your system.

RECIPE: Healthy Start Smoothie

Based on my most recent recipe posts, you might deduce that I’m really in to “juicing” right now.  No, not bodybuilder, steroid-injecting “juicing”! Actual vegetable juicing…

This just in…the VitaminWater, V8 ‘juices’ and those like it are LOADED with dyes, sodium and SUGAR.  Don’t be fooled by convenient foods, posing as healthy elixirs!

Besides, throwing several fruits and vegetables into a blender and making a smoothie is SUCH a convenient way to get in nutrient rich fruits and veggies, without preservatives, additives and extra calories. It’s fast, it’s easy, and gosh-darnit it’s FUN! (that was a joke, but it is super easy and I do enjoy it)

So here’s my latest greatest smoothie concoction. Alkaline, for those of you who care, and delicious! Great way to Detox after the gluttonous weekend!

2 cups spinach

1/2 cup frozen green grapes

2 celery sticks

1/2 lime squeezed

1/4 cup filtered water (optional)

Blend all above ingredients together.  I often throw in fresh Basil or what ever produce I have lying around to mix it up.  Try your own variations. Add honey, or 1/2 an apple, cucumber, or whatever tempts you!

RANT: Thankful? Tasty? or Tidy?

As we gather with family on this day of Gluttony to give thanks. I challenge each of us to be mindful of what we are nibbling on.  Are we eating because there is SO MUCH FOOD to taste our curiosity shoves reason aside as we approach the dessert table? Or is it because if we are chewing, we can simply nod as Uncle Eddie tells his high school football winning touchdown story for the 67th time. Or maybe we over-eat because Aunt Bessy, who’s inevitably drunk with lipstick on various teeth, really makes a mean turkey stuffing that you’ve been waiting for all year.

For whatever the reason, I challenge you to take a moment before each fork-ful to silently give thanks, instead of gobbling down more.

For me there’s a level of OCD in my eating habits. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. OCD comes in several forms; for some it’s incessant hand washing because they obsess about germs or have a compulsion to avoid them.  For some it’s double checking everything, did I set the alarm? Is there enough air in the tires? Is my tie straight? For others, and this is me, it’s order. Clean straight lines. Tidiness.

Do you know what I’m talking about? this tendency? stacking your mail, organizing your fridge, folding clothes neatly—re-folding the towel that was not folded as it should have been.

I find calm and security in a neat, tidy, clean space.

Thus, evening off that unsightly, jagged edge of the pumpkin pie, and then getting to eat your delicious trimming is doubly rewarding!  Maybe I’ll do it once more to create a straighter line (and get a better taste).

Really? polishing off that last remaining stuffing, to help tidy? It could just as easily be thrown away. But I can’t bear to waste it. Why?

Perhaps it’s about control or order in this chaotic time of year. Either way, I’ve got some caloric challenges ahead.  And I’m thankful to have a life full of love.  Instead of a stomach full of junk!

RECIPE: The Green Healer Smoothie

Did you know that veggies, especially the dark leafy green ones, have anti-aging, cancer preventing, energy-giving nutrients all up in them!?!

“But Madeleine, I’m so tired of salads and don’t have time to cook, so how can I possibly get 5 servings of vegetables in my diet every day?”

I’m so glad you asked! Drink them! No, I’m not talking about the sodium and sugar LOADED, pre-made juice in the grocery store, I’m talking about delicious, nutrient dense, glorious vegetable smoothies that you can make at home in a flash with just a blender and an index finger!

Blend:

2 cups Spinach

1 cup ice

1/2 cup filtered water

1/2 cup frozen pineapple

5 fresh basil leaves

dash cayenne pepper

Oh yeah baby, let the healing begin!

RANT: Seeds and Nuts

Seeds and nuts are a great way to get protein! Eating them helps you stay full longer. And nuts add lipid (cholesterol) lowering healthy oils in to the diet.  Nuts make your skin and hair shine! They can last for weeks un-refridgerated in your desk drawer, glovebox, or at the bottom of your bag. Which makes them perfect snack! Go easy though-Just a handful or so a day!  Although peanuts are some of the most popular nuts, they aren’t the absoulutely healthiest nuts.  Stick to almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios and cashews! Sunflower, flax, and chia seeds!

And if your jaws get tired of chomping down nuts and seeds, consider some of the nut butters. No, Nutella doesn’t count! Nor does Peter Pan peanut butter!  Try the all natural almond or cashew butters, or even better, make your own!

If you really want something healthy, fast, nutritious and delicious, try this ridiculously good nut butter. It’s like a trail mix in a jar!

Jeff’s Ridiculously Good Trail Butter  

Bring it and a spoon on long hikes or rides. Or bring it to work–it’s sure to be an office hit! Just don’t open it at home alone; because you may just scarf down the whole jar. It’s that good.

 

RECIPE: Easy Snack Alert: Popcorn

FAVORITE SNACK ALERT: Real popcorn

I’m not talking about the prepackaged, sprayed with chemicals, individually wrapped microwave popcorn, although I’ve eaten my fair share of those! I’m talking about real corn kernels….
you can actually put 2 Tbsp popcorn kernels in a brown paper bag and put it in to the microwave for 1-2 minutes. Yeah, you can and its called Popcorn.

Not too long ago, my mother, bless her heart, brought over 2 small brown paper bags of popcorn kernels. The bags were folded over and stapled at the top.  She told me she’d made me microwave popcorn.

I immediately shot the offer down because everybody knows you can’t put metal in the microwave! She explained she’d been doing it for years. I doubted that, as I’d never seen her eat the savory treat.  I also recalled that she recently had to replace her microwave.  So the bags sat on the counter until I, desperate for a salty snack and out of edamame, decided to give it a try.

I placed the bag cautiously into the microwave, figuring the sparks would fly immediately (like they had when I tried to thaw a frozen nestle crunch as a 12 year old) and I could intervene before the flames really got out of control (like when I once tried to microwave a pop-tart)

I waited.

No sparks, but then a pop….pop….popopopopopopop.

Delicious. And so easy!  Looks like Mom knew what she was doing after all! Funny how that happens.

(you can use a stove top: 2 Tbsp oil and ! Tbsp kernels, cover, med-high heat for 2-3 minutes OR try an air popper!)

Sprinkle parmesan cheese, paprika, olive oil+basil or hot sauce on it to spice it up!

~ 100 calories per 3 cups, as much fiber as a cup of brown rice and more antioxidants than a day’s worth of fruits and veggies! What’s not to love?